When you consider what makes a game the best roleplaying game for you, there are a few factors to consider:

  • How much time are you willing to invest in learning the rules?
  • How many people do you need to play the game?
  • How much preparation time do you need before you play?
  • And of course, how fun is the game to play?

As lifelong gamers, we’ve played them all, including the most-famous roleplaying game of them all, Dungeons & Dragons. From tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder to card-based RPGs, we evaluated each game’s dynamics to arrive at our list of the best card-based RPGs for you to try.

First in our list is RPG Battles: The Card Game. Why is it first in the list? Because it’s the best card based RPG given the criteria above. We’ll step you through our evaluation of the game, and then give you some comparison games to check out, too.

RPG Battles: The Card Game

#1: RPG Battles

RPG Battles: The Card Game is a fun twist on card based RPG games because it combines the best elements of roleplaying flavor, with a simple set of rules, fast game play, and exciting turn-of-events.

RPG Battles was created as a solution to a common problem: many people are intrigued by tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, or Pathfinder, but balk at the steep learning curve. After all, there are over 564 pages of rules in just the Core Rulebook of Pathfinder! So the creator of RPG Battles set out to solve this problem by creating a card based RPG that is very accessible for new players, and exciting enough to satisfy seasoned veterans of roleplaying games.

The objective of the game is to equip your character with armor, weapons and magic that will help you buff up for fights, foil the efforts of other players, and slay dangerous monsters in battle. The last player standing wins the game.

RPG Battles allows players to select from among six adventuring characters: the Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue or Sorceress. Each Character has special abilities that are unique to that character. Players familiar with Pathfinder will recognize the spirit of the game upon which the special abilities are based. For example, the Rogue can attempt to steal cards from other players; the Sorceress can use Magic Missile to automatically damage her opponents; and the Paladin can Lay on Hands to heal damage after battle, to name a few.

Players start the game with a random set of cards they may use to equip their character with armor, weapons and magic. During the game, you attempt to draw other cards to better equip your character with the combination of cards you feel will give you the best odds of surviving battle – or foiling the efforts of other players to do the same.

Like its tabletop gaming cousins, RPG Battles forces players to roll dice to determine if they have a random encounter with fate. Random encounters range from fighting monsters, to triggering a trap, or finding a benison – a card that helps you survive.

True to its name, RPG Battles gameplay revolves around how you deal with encountering monsters. Will you battle it out? Use magic to empower your character? Or teleport away and leave your fellow players to deal with the beast on their own? Sometimes, you don’t have to outrun the monster… just the other players!

The ability to use cards in strategic combinations, combined with your ability to foil your fellow players attempts to do the same thing, make RPG Battles more than just another Battle Royale type of card based RPG. There are endless combinations of cards you can deploy, and over a dozen monsters, traps and nasty encounters to keep it interesting.

But what makes RPG Battles one of the best card based RPG games? Using the criteria at the beginning of this article, here’s how we rate RPG Battles:

How much time are you willing to invest in learning the rules?

RPG Battles is one of the easiest card-based RPG games to learn. You don’t need any familiarity with classic roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder, although if you do, the mechanics of the game are that much easier to grasp. It takes about five minutes to read through the rulebook: it’s very short, and easily organized into the phases of your turn, how combat works, and how to win. After a few rounds, the average new player understands the basics – which makes RPG Battles a great game for couples to play with others during game night.

How many people do you need to play the game?

Compared to classic tabletop RPG games, RPG Battles is much more flexible with the number of players needed to play. Play solo if you’re looking to kill time; or play with 2-5 other friends. This makes RPG Battles perfect for a filler game if your regularly scheduled tabletop RPG has a few no-shows.

If you’re looking for a couple’s game, RPG Battles makes a great game for up to three couples. Each person plays one character and combined with the easy rules and fast gameplay, RPG Battles makes for an easy game night.

How much preparation time do you need before you play?

There is zero effort needed to prepare to play this card based RPG. Simply open the box, have each player select their adventuring character, shuffle the decks, and you’re ready to play. Compared to classic tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, which can take hours, if not days of preparation to play, RPG Battles is the easiest card based RPG game to play.

How fun is the game to play?

One of the best things about card based RPG games is that as a genre, they all play very quickly. In the case of RPG Battles, a typical game lasts between 15 – 30 minutes, depending on the number of players and how experienced the players are. This means that should the odds go sideways for you as a player, the game is over quickly and you can play another round. This makes RPG Battles a great card based game for mini tournaments or ladder challenges.

RPG Battles is very replayable, with over a dozen monsters, traps and benisons to encounter, and six different characters to play. One of the best uses for RPG Battles is as a “gateway game” for the more advanced traditional tabletop RPGs like D&D and Pathfinder. New players easily learn traditional roleplaying game concepts like armor class, hit points, and magical effects. If RPG Battles doesn’t whet your appetite to give a full-blown tabletop RPG a try, then few other games will.

Experienced roleplayers will not be disappointed, either. RPG Battles does not attempt to replace traditional tabletop RPGs full-blown roleplaying complexity; rather, the game is positioned to fill downtime between game sessions, and entice newcomers to learn more about the wonderful world of roleplaying games.

RPG Battles is available on Amazon.com as well as on the company website.